Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"Locked In" Blog Tour!

Today, we are proud to welcome Thea Gregory, author of the Zombie Bedtime Stories series, to our blog. Ms. Gregory is our first visiting author and she is here promoting Locked In, the first book in the series.

She has come to entertain us with a guest post that is entertaining while managing to use far fewer parentheses than my posts normally do. Good times all around!

Thea, take it away:

The Anatomy of a Zombie Story

Writing a zombie story is a highly scientific process that has been passed down through the ages. Well, I made that last part up, but it’s still very scientific-like. Zombie horror involves mastering the time-honored traditions of suspension of disbelief, characterization, description, plot and gore.

Suspension of Disbelief and Plot:
Yes, these are zombies we’re talking about. Those tend not to be an everyday occurrence, hopefully at least not for the foreseeable future. Thus, things need to be somewhat believable. There needs to be consistent rules for zombie behavior, regardless of whether they’re members of the flesh or BRAINS subspecies. For example, if your zombies are initially of the slow-moving variety, it’s probably not the best of ideas to have them suddenly mutate into flying radioactive zombies. Consistent rules are important, even with our fictional creatively-animated friends.

A good story that entertains and moves along is also very important. It needs a definite beginning, middle and end, even if it’s part of a longer series.

With my zombies, I created a set of rules and stuck with them. I call them my “Laws of Zombification,” and like the laws of physics, I refuse to break them. Objects do not fall up, you can’t divide by zero, and zombies do not talk, fall in love or do anything other than look for their next delicious meal.

A zombie story needs a strong protagonist. Whether said hero is the survivor or the ultimate zombie food variety, they need to have reasons for what they say, do and feel during the harrowing events surrounding a zombie apocalypse. There needs to be a buy-in, regardless of if you want the reader to rejoice at the character’s slaughter or to feel their adrenaline surge as their beloved hero fights off a legion of undead with a hoe.

Characters can be all shapes and sizes, and it’s great to deviate from the norm and try new things. Your protagonist can even be a zombie. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Remember not to break any “Laws of Zombification,” even if it’s your darling protagonist.

Description and Gore:
A strong sense of scene creation is essential to a zombie story. So far, you have some ground rules and good characters. However, you must now create the universe. The gloom of a post-apocalyptic world can permeate the action and lend a cinematic quality to the story.

I found that a good way of achieving a proper balance of important details versus minutiae is to treat your scene like a panel in a graphic novel, and describe the pertinent details as you move through dialogue or important events. Rather than drawing each panel, I illustrate it with words. This is helpful, because I can’t draw well.

Now, for the gore! It’s very important. More than anything else, the gore needs to feel real, visceral and conjure up images from the most disturbing nightmares. You want your readers to get on twitter and tell you how shocked and delighted they are at the level of realism in your gore. Write the goriest stuff imaginable, and then further revise it with little details that may have been missed. Tease the audience, but make sure you stay in complete control of the experience. Be demented, but make sure it serves the story and not the other way around. Remember, Laws of Zombification, believability, and make sure every scene has a purpose.

In short, that’s the blood and guts of the science of creating a zombie story. Make sure to wear gloves, and practice good hygiene while working with the undead.

Be sure to pick up Locked In today!

Also, follow Thea!
On her blog
On Twitter: @TheaIsis

1 comment:

  1. Dear Thea,,

    Your post made me consider that part of researching to write blood and gore, crosses in to the realm of medical student study. Especially ones who want to become coroners. =)